There has been a lot of talk in my life lately about traditions. I am passionate about traditions. I believe they create a sense of consistency that provides comfort and joy in one’s life. Traditions define families, special events, and create and sustain memories.

For me, I have a lot of traditions both for myself; some may call them routines, but I think they are traditional things. For example, before every marathon, I tie my shoes early and then re-tie them from the starting line or chute. In the last five years, I have gone running before every evening concert except last week’s where we canceled the show. In November every year, 3rd graders learn about courage through Handel and in January, they get their very first recorder.

But it is the traditions of family that mean the most to me. They almost always have to do with food, which is not particularly surprising for anyone who knows my family. I love the act of cooking holiday meals with the women in my family. It provides a source of many fun stories and a time where any familial discord seems to cease. I love the Christmas morning traditions; the food, music, and way we open presents. The constant flow of movie quotations and a speech pattern not completely understood by outsiders. This has all changed so much in the last few years. I wish so deeply to keep as much of this as possible. In the whirlwind of change and loss, these are the things to which I cling.

Some have said to me, “traditions can change” or “nothing has to stay the same”. This upsets me, as if somehow I was the only one who felt the importance of these things. As if somehow, if I want to stay in the family, I have to go along with everyone else’s willingness to so easily dump things we once loved and held dear. As usual, I have no solutions for what I see as a devastating problem. So for now, I only hope that at least some things could remain the same, for the sake of remembering the good.

I’m certainly not a Jewish father in Russia at the turn of the last century, but I am pretty sure Tevye understands my point.

May you keep your beloved traditions this season with those you hold dear.

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